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7 Morning Habits to Increase Your Productivity For the Day

7 Morning Habits to Increase Your Productivity For the Day

There is a lot of advice online about being more productive and time management apps are popping up by the day. This is because more people than ever are facing sleep deprivation and often insomnia, due to the ease of access to communication tools and technology. Sleep is one of the most important things in our lives as it can increase our learning speed, helps us remember more information, and allow us to be happier individuals in general.

But… the biggest bottleneck that few of us attempt to improve is our morning habits. If you want to become more productive and effective during your day, then you need to optimize your morning habits. How we structure and spend the first few hours of each day will determine how the rest of our day will play out, and how effective we can be in our lives.

Luckily, there are simple and easy-to-implement habits that you can do today to increase your productivity for the day, and for the rest of your life.

1. Wake up next to sunlight

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    Studies have shown that those lacking sleep and suffering from insomnia is mostly due to artificial light confusing our internal clocks. When a group of individuals suffering from sleep deprivation went on a camping trip without exposure to artificial light or alarm clocks, their sleep inertia rapidly disappeared within days.

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    The conclusion from researchers was that the best way to fall sleep sleep and improve the quality of your sleep is to be next to natural sunlight, which is also helpful for waking up in the morning naturally.

    2. Meditate

    There’s a lot of advice online on how to approach meditation, and it can seem overwhelming to someone who’s never experienced it. The truth is: there’s no one way to meditate. Everyone has a different approach.

    While the methods of meditation vary, the benefits are clear. Meditation reduces our anxiety levels, increases our productivity, and even improves our memoriesStudies have shown that after a 20-minute meditation session, our brains are more focused and less distracted, which allows us to remove multi-tasking, achieve our goals for the day faster, and become a top performer.

    3. Automate your decisions

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      We only have so much willpower in a typical day. In order to effectively use our willpower towards the tasks that matter, it’s better to minimize the number of decisions we make in the morning. Most of us go through the same routines in the morning, but there are always routines we can automate.

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      Can you picking out your outfit before bedtime, eat the same breakfast each morning, waking up earlier to avoid route changes, and more? This may seem boring at first, but you’ll be surprised how morning automation can provide you the flexibility to be more productive and spontaneous throughout the rest of your day.

      4. The “One Thing”

      According to Gary Keller, the author of The One Thing, the best way to prioritize our never ending to-do lists is to pick “the Domino Effect”. The Domino Effect is when a task that you complete or an action you take, will make everything else on your list easier to complete or even unnecessary.

      For example, if your goal is to learn Spanish before travelling to South America this year, is it worth paying a $1,000 to go to a language school for 3 months to learn everything about the language? Or is it better to focus your time, energy, and money on learning the common Spanish phrases you’ll use with a native speaking professional teacher from South America for less than $150? The second is the right choice.

      Take a look at your to-do list. How necessary or important are each of the tasks in achieving your end goals? Then pick only one from the list that will create a Domino Effect for you, and block out time on your calendar to achieve it.

      5. Do the hardest thing first

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        As we mentioned before, most human beings (unless you’re Elon Musk), have a limited amount of willpower, creativity, and energy in a day. This study done on the human brain shows that our prefrontal cortex, the part of the brain responsible for creativity, is the most active when we wake up. This explains why creatives, such as writers or designers, do their best work early in the morning upon waking up.

        If this is true, then we must organize our morning schedule to do the hardest, if not the most creative task first thing in the morning. This allows us to most effectively use our brain capabilities and free up brain space to complete tasks that require less creativity or willpower throughout the rest of the day, such as editing, sending emails, phone calls, etc.

        6. Prepare the night before

        While this is a post about morning habits, how we spend our night has a massive impact on our productivity the following day. The biggest impact is preparation. Before you head off to bed, take 15-20 minutes to pick your most important tasks and schedule them in your calendar. The reason why scheduling is so important is because you can manage for time and how long a single task will take, which is very difficult to do on a typical to-do list.

        7. Hot and Cold Hydrotherapy

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          Although not common in North America, Cold and Hot Hydrotherapy is enjoyed not only as a luxury in Finland, but a necessity. Several studies show that hot and cold hydrotherapy has multiple benefits for our health, including reduced stress, stronger immune system, increased ability to burn fat, and even fighting depression.

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          The method is rather simple. Simply shower and wash yourself the way you would normally in normal temperature water. Then, crank the nozzle to the coldest possible temperature and wait for 30 seconds. From there, crank the nozzle to the hottest possible temperature you can handle and hold for 30 seconds. And lastly, go back to cold temperature, and hold for 30 seconds.

          Fair warning: if you’re not used to shocking your body in the morning, this may be a difficult approach to adopt at first, but it becomes easier and easier over repetition, like most things. This wakes you up quickly and effectively.

          Now Your Turn

          Which of the morning routines we’ve outlined will you try out?
          What were your key takeaways from the morning routines of the successful?
          We’d love to hear it in the comments below.

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          Last Updated on August 16, 2018

          16 Productivity Secrets of Highly Successful People Revealed

          16 Productivity Secrets of Highly Successful People Revealed

          The same old motivational secrets don’t really motivate you after you’ve read them for the tenth time, do they?

          How about a unique spin on things?

          These 16 productivity secrets of successful people will make you reevaluate your approach to your home, work, and creative lives. Learn from these highly successful people, turn these little things they do into your daily habits and you’ll get closer to success.

          1. Empty your mind.

          It sounds counterproductive, doesn’t it?

          Emptying your mind when you have so much to remember seems like you’re just begging to forget something. Instead, this gives you a clean slate so you’re not still thinking about last week’s tasks.

          Clear your mind and then start thinking only about what you need to do immediately, and then today. Tasks that need to be accomplished later in the week can wait.

          Here’s a guide to help you empty your mind and think sharper:

          How to Declutter Your Mind to Sharpen Your Brain and Fall Asleep Faster

          2. Keep certain days clear.

          Some companies are scheduling “No Meeting Wednesdays,” which means, funnily enough, that no one can hold a meeting on a Wednesday. This gives workers a full day to work on their own tasks, without getting sidetracked by other duties or pointless meetings.

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          This can work in your personal life too, for example if you need to restrict Facebook access or limit phone calls.

          3. Prioritize your work.

          Don’t think every task is created equal! Some tasks aren’t as important as others, or might take less time.

          Try to sort your tasks every day and see what can be done quickly and efficiently. Get these out of the way so you have more free time and brain power to focus on what is more important.

          Lifehack’s CEO has a unique way to prioritize works, take a look at it here:

          How to Prioritize Right in 10 Minutes and Work 10X Faster

          4. Chop up your time.

          Many successful business leaders chop their time up into fifteen-minute intervals. This means they work on tasks for a quarter of an hour at a time, or schedule meetings for only fifteen minutes. It makes each hour seem four times as long, which leads to more productivity!

          5. Have a thinking position.

          Truman Capote claimed he couldn’t think unless he was laying down. Proust did this as well, while Stravinsky would stand on his head!

          What works for others may not work for you. Try to find a spot and position that is perfect for you to brainstorm or come up with ideas.

          6. Pick three to five things you must do that day.

          To Do lists can get overwhelming very quickly. Instead of making a never-ending list of everything you can think of that needs to be done, make daily lists that include just three to five things.

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          Make sure they’re things that need to be done that day, so you don’t keep putting them off.

          7. Don’t try to do too much.

          OK, so I just told you to work every day, and now I’m telling you to not do too much? It might sound like conflicting advice, but not doing too much means not biting off more than you can chew. Don’t say yes to every work project or social engagement and find yourself in way over your head.

          8. Have a daily action plan.

          Don’t limit yourself to a to-do list! Take ten minutes every morning to map out a daily action plan. It’s a place to not only write what needs to be done that day, but also to prioritize what will bring the biggest reward, what will take the longest, and what goals will be accomplished.

          Leave room for a “brain dump,” where you can scribble down anything else that’s on your mind.

          9. Do your most dreaded project first.

          Getting your most dreaded task over with first means you’ll have the rest of the day free for anything and everything else. This also means that you won’t be constantly putting off the worst of your projects, making it even harder to start on it later.

          10. Follow the “Two-Minute Rule.”

          The “Two-Minute Rule” was made famous by David Allen. It’s simple – if a new task comes in and it can be done in two minutes or less, do it right then. Putting it off just adds to your to-do list and will make the task seem more monumental later.

          11. Have a place devoted to work.

          If you work in an office, it’s no problem to say that your cubicle desk is where you work every day.

          But if you work from home, make sure you have a certain area specifically for work. You don’t want files spread out all over the dinner table, and you don’t want to feel like you’re not working just because you’re relaxing on the couch.

          Agatha Christie never wrote at her desk, she wrote wherever she could sit down. Ernest Hemingway wrote standing up. Thomas Wolfe, at 6’6″ tall, used the top of his refrigerator as a desk. Richard Wright wrote on a park bench, rain or shine.

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          Have a space where, when you go there, you know you’re going to work. Maybe it’s a cafe downstairs, the library, or a meeting room. Whenever and wherever works for you, do your works there.

          12. Find your golden hour.

          You don’t have to stick to a “typical” 9–5 schedule!

          Novelist Anne Rice slept during the day and wrote at night to avoid distractions. Writer Jerzy Kosinski slept eight hours a day, but never all at once. He’d wake in the morning, work, sleep four hours in the afternoon, then work more that evening.

          Your golden hour is the time when you’re at your peak. You’re alert, ready to be productive, and intent on crossing things off your to-do list.

          Once you find your best time, protect it with all your might. Make sure you’re always free to do your best uninterrupted work at this time.

          13. Pretend you’re on an airplane.

          It might not be possible to lock everyone out of your office to get some peace and quiet, but you can eliminate some distractions.

          By pretending you’re on an airplane, you can act like your internet access is limited, you’re not able to get something from your bookcase, and you can’t make countless phone calls.

          Eliminating these distractions will help you focus on your most important tasks and get them done without interruption.

          14. Never stop.

          Writers Anthony Trollope and Henry James started writing their next books as soon as they finished their current work in progress.

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          Stephen King writes every day of the year, and holds himself accountable for 2,000 words a day! Mark Twain wrote every day, and then read his day’s work aloud to his family to get their feedback.

          There’s something to be said about working nonstop, and putting out continuous work instead of taking a break. It’s just a momentum that will push you go further./

          15. Be in tune with your body.

          Your mind and body will get tired of a task after ninety minutes to two hours focused on it. Keep this in mind as you assign projects to yourself throughout the day, and take breaks to ensure that you won’t get burned out.

          16. Try different methods.

          Vladimir Nabokov wrote the first drafts of his novels on index cards. This made it easy to rearrange sentences, paragraphs, and chapters by shuffling the cards around.

          It does sound easier, and more fun, than copying and pasting in Word! Once Nabokov liked the arrangement, his wife typed them into a single manuscript.

          Same for you, don’t give up and think that it’s impossible for you to be productive when one method fails. Try different methods until you find what works perfectly for you.

          Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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